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Posts tagged ‘screen printing’

September: Screen Printed Cereal Boxes

A few days late getting this one posted, but I am happy to reveal to you my vintage cereal characters screen printed on mini cereal boxes! To remind you, the cards for this month were “Screen Printing” and “Stuff In My Trash”. After collecting quite an array of trash in my laundry room, an idea finally popped into my head to do prints of the cereal characters we all love on their respective boxes. I started out researching the original characters from back in the day and did some simplified versions of my own based on those.



 

I only managed to get a few shots of the process – I was so focused I found myself forgetting to stop to take pictures of everything!

I will likely do a printing party soon with a few of my friends who are interested in learning the process, and have them help record the entire thing so I can put up a basic step-by-step post for anyone else who is interested.

Below are a few shots of the taped up screen ready and being put into the press. The reason we tape up the screen is because the pink/purple chemical stencil (aka emulsion) does not go all the way to the edge, so you must block those areas so the ink doesn’t get through. It is also to help in clean up.The close-up shows the design area where the ink will pass through onto our printing surface.

I’m pretty happy with this basic one-color clamp-on press I got with my kit from Ryonet. I was a little worried that just clamping it to a surface might not be strong enough, but it definitely does the job! I have one of those tiny, useless bars at the end of my kitchen.. and I’m happy to have finally found a use for that thing other than collecting endless amounts of clutter.  It’s great for clamping my press to (though a bit high, so I have to use a step stool to print!) Best of all, for someone in a tiny apartment like myself, this press just unclamps and can be stored in my patio closet. Very little fuss and muss.


Since I only have one screen and a one-color press, I did some paint washes underneath before printing the black ink on top. I really love the messy feel it gives them and how it keeps the printed box from competing too much. To finish them off, I decided to trim the edges so that the cereal box itself was more subtle. I like the idea of someone looking at the printed design first and then realizing after that it’s actually printed ON a the cereal box of that character. I think Tony the Tiger is probably my favorite one – which is your favorite??


Here Come the Hiccups

You know, you’d think after 9 months of projects, I would have realized that things are going to take 300x longer than I expected them to. Screen printing is no different. So here we are, 1:30am and I think I’m throwing in the towel until tomorrow.

I was planning to have the artwork printed and burned on the screen tonight, but of course the film didn’t work on my printer (see example A below)… instead it beaded up into fabulously unusable gobs all over the film… gobs that still – after 3 hours – are mocking me in their happy moist state.

In the interest of making my deadline, I decided to just redraw my art on a new piece of film with an archival ink pen instead of waiting to get it printed somewhere tomorrow. Of course the only pen I could find in my art supplies was the SMALLEST point size known to man. Of course. So a few hours of tedious coloring later, I’m about to burn to the screens and realize that there are no guidelines for exposure time. You’d think this would be a pretty calculated thing, size of screen + wattage of light x distance of light from screen, etc… but apparently for some unknown reason this isn’t how it works. So now, I need to run a test screen to find out my exposure time, and then strip that and recoat the screen and reburn my artwork.

*sigh* I suppose that’s what I get for poor planning in advance. Oh well, tomorrow is a new day – a day that hopefully will end a finished screen-printed project.

 

The Screen Printing Kit has Arrived!


It’s here, it’s here, the kit is here! I’m so excited… it’s been almost 10 years since I’ve done any screen printing. In my high school and early college years, I worked for a small print shop back home making t-shirt designs and helping out with the printing whenever the guys in the shop needed an extra hand. I loved working up in the office, making shirt designs and helping the customers & clients. What a wonderful thing to see their faces light up whenever I would show them the designs I’d come up.  There’s nothing like being able to take something that someone has in their mind and not only create that – but create something possibly even better than they imagined. Being able to do that for people is what made me fall in love with design. A college degree and 3 years of professional work later – I am just now looking back and realizing that creating things that helped people is what really made designing t-shirts so rewarding for me.

I can still remember hot summer days down in the print shop too – we had little to no A/C and the place wreaked of chemicals and was full of large, sweaty guys making grossly inappropriate jokes… What can I say? For a tomboy who grew up hangin’ with the boys, this was just the most fun you could have. With the radio blasting AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, it was that perfectly simple mix of physical labor, lots of laughter, and filling a need by making things. Even though it was far from being a dream job, for that time in my life – it really was.

So here we are.. me and a screen printing kit, 8 years down the road we are reunited. I’m so excited to see where it takes me and who I can help along the way. Off we go!

Tightwad vs The Screen Printing Kit

I’ve spent the past 2 days searching far and wide on the internet for various screen printing starter kits. There were $50, there were $5000 ones… all with a plethora of options to choose from. This has become my own personal hell. Let me explain… I suffer from the sad combination of being both extremely indecisive when presented with too many options as well as being chronically cheap.

So here I am – cheap & indecisive – spending hours upon hours weighing different options like “should I buy the kit that has more ink and less chemicals? Or the kit that has more ink and less chemicals? Or what about the kit that comes with a heat gun – we’re going to probably want that for making T-shirts one day. Oh for $50 more I can get the kit with the more ink AND more chemicals – AND a larger screen! But $50 is a lot extra… should I really do that? Maybe I should just to SUPER cheap and buy the $50 kit… although that really doesn’t have much in it…”  And yes, I even went as far as to begin looking up individual items and pricing them out to see how much THAT would cost too.

*sigh*

I finally resorted to calling my boyfriend up and making rationalizing statements to him (but really to myself) about why I should spend $200 on a screen printing kit. Repeated agreements on his part finally gave me the strength I needed to take the plunge. Man, this really makes me sound like I have a problem, doesn’t it? What can I say… my father was the king of all tightwads and apparently he taught me quite well.

So, after days of torturous back-and-forthing, I have finally settled on The Screen Printing Hobby Kit Plus (that’s right… plus! I even coughed up that extra $50 to get a bigger screen, more ink AND more chemicals. I must say I am quite proud of myself!) Hoping it arrives in the next week here so. I haven’t screen printed in almost 10 years, so I’m just itching to get back into it!

How-To: Screenprint Like A Boss

Today I bring you Bre Pettis of Make Magazine, who partnered with Matt Stinchcomb of Etsy to put together this fabulously fun tutorial on screen printing. They cover the whole process from start to finish, and even include some extra outside-the-box ideas at the end. The only thing I’d like to add is that they’re using a large printing setup more for the serious printer, but you can do the same process at home using a simpler setup with just a single screen attached with hinges to a board that you print on. I’ll be posting some other videos soon that show how to make a screen/screening station for those who are interested in being a little more hands-on (a.k.a. cheap)… like myself.

Kudos on the wolf gear guys… you make me want my own epic animal gang!

How-To: Cheap & Dirty Screen Printing


I stumbled on this cheap & dirty DIY tutorial while doing a bit of research tonight. If you’ve ever wanted to play around with screen printing but didn’t want to spend a lot of cashola on buying a kit, this might work for you. They used old picture frames to create the screens, and exposed the screens in the sun instead of using a fancy schmancy lighting setup. Having worked at a print shop in my early college years – I do know a bit about the process and this DIY does seem to cover just about everything. My only suggestions would be to use actual silk screen mesh instead of a curtain (more moolah, but it will last longer) and to secure the screen to a work table with clamps while you are printing – as it would be really difficult to keep it in place with only one hand while you are trying to push ink through with the other hand. Better to just lock it down tight.

I should also add that this system is best for doing one-color prints. You’d really want to buy or build a more extensive setup to do multiple colors. If you’re interested in purchasing a kit that has all you need, silkscreeningsupplies.com has some great packages and decent prices. Now it is time… to go forth and print!

Announcing the September Project!

I’m pretty happy about this one. September is my favorite month – being the month of my birth and the first month of fall – and screen printing is one of the projects within the 12MOC that I’ve wanted to do most! I’m loving this combo too… I’m already filled with fun questions. Will I screen print on old cereal boxes and milk cartons? Will I create illustrated versions of refuse and print them as posters or t-shirts? Or maybe I’ll take actual fun-shaped garbage right out of the trash and use it to create interesting bizarre shapes to print. Oh the possibilities.. let the games begin!

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